|'THE ART OF LJUBA
Arias from Der Freischütz, Aida, La Boh╦me, Tosca, Eugen Onegin, Pique Dame, Un ballo en maschera, Zigeunerliebe, Die lustige Witse, Der Zarewitsch, Die Dubarry, Don Giovanni, Die Fledermaus and Salome; songs of Dargomijsky, Mussorgsky, Marx and Richard Strauss
PREISER 90476 (2 CDs) (F) (M) TT: 79:05
BUY NOW FROM AMAZON& 67:15
An important release for opera lovers as it restores to the catalog a number of Ljuba Welitsch recordings once issued on London/Decca in their Legendary Decca Archives (448 153). Welitsch's voice was one of the most distinctive of the century, admired by Strauss for whom she sang her first Salome on his 80th birthday. Her career lasted barely a decade but in that short time she created a legend. Preiser's set contains two arias each from Pique Dame (sung in German) and Un ballo en maschera, and four exquisite operetta excerpts, all with the Vienna State Opera Orchestra under Rudolf Moralt. All are prime examples of the unique artistry of the fiery Bulgarian soprano at her peak of performance, with that silvery, sensuous yet vulnerable sound. It's good to have them back.
The first CD is called The European Recordings and
includes all items released on 78s or early LPs, arias from Aida, Tosca, Der
Freischutz and the Letter Scene from Eugene Onegin in its
definitive recorded performance (even though sung in German). All
of these were available on EMI CD 61007 in their Great
Recordings of the Century series, long out-of-print, a CD that also
included a stunning radio performance of the Salome finale recorded
in Vienna in 1944 with Lovro von Matacic conducting. The Moralt-conducted
items mentioned earlier fill out the CD along with Zigeunerlieder,
Op.103 of Brahms from a 1947 BBC broadcast with pianist Ernest Lush. The European Recordings
does not include the incomplete Salome finale recorded in 1948 with
Karajan and the Vienna Philharmonic, never issued on 78s (one side had
been damaged) but the undamaged sides were issued on CD as part of the
Karajan Edition (66394).
Preiser's transfers are superb - full-bodied and immediate. The twin-CD set is worth having just for the Moralt-conducted items which are not available elsewhere. High recommended!
R.E.B. (April 2002)